Celebrities—they’re just like us! Minus the millions in net worth, lavish homes, extravagant parties, and millions of adoring fans. At the end of the day, though, they are just humans who experience similar problems and roadblocks. Case in point, the long list of celebrities with diabetes. If you have diabetes, then you know not every day is a walk in the park. Just like you, these 12 celebrities have had to learn how to live with their diabetes.
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Perhaps the most recognizable actor of our generation, Tom Hanks was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2013. Hanks is practically everyone’s favorite fun uncle they didn’t even know they had. He’s even your favorite uncle’s favorite uncle. From his work as a living, breathing toy cowboy to his blockbuster war epic Saving Private Ryan, Hanks has done it all.
Salma Hayek is another recognizable celeb, appearing in such cinematic masterpieces as Spy Kids 3D. We kid, of course. She is an Oscar-nominated actress (2003, Frida) and has appeared in her fair share of well-received films. Hayek actually developed gestational diabetes while she was pregnant with her daughter, Valentina. This type of diabetes is treatable, but women who have it run the risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
Even non-football fans may be aware of this quarterback, as he appeared with his then-wife Kristin Cavallari in her show Very Cavallari. In 2008, the retired QB was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. In a 2012 piece from ESPN, Cutler talks about his reluctance to alter his lifestyle after finding out. Later in his life, he says in the interview, he finally started listening to his body more and eating healthier. Even celebrities struggle with managing their diabetes from time to time.
If you were a fan of American Idol back in the day, chances are you were also a big fan of Randy Jackson as well. The bassist, producer, and American Idol judge was diagnosed with diabetes in 2003. Jackson realized early on that if you don’t manage your diabetes well, there is a lot that can happen, “… which is why I encourage everyone to do so,” he said in an interview with Health.
The King of Suspenders, Larry King has been a mainstay of American television and radio for quite some time now. Beloved by many, King has lived with type 2 diabetes since 1995. While he is most known for interviewing people, he certainly has something to say himself. One of his most notable quotes is one we can all learn from: “I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening.”
James Earl Jones
If you don’t recognize his name, you’d surely recognize his voice. James Earl Jones not only voiced one of the most iconic villains in movie history (Darth Vadar), but he also voiced one of the key characters in one of Disney’s most beloved animated movies (Mufasa in The Lion King). Not wanting to disrupt his professional career, as well as stay as healthy as possible, Jones has been thoroughly managing his diabetes with the help of his family, who hold him accountable on his diet.
Another Star Wars alum, this time from the man behind the camera. Lucas actually found out he had diabetes at a checkup during his draft for the Vietnam War. It is said that he inherited his type 2 diabetes from his paternal grandfather. While type 2 diabetes does not have a clear pattern of inheritance, the risk of developing the disease does increase with the number of affected family members.
This talented actress was the first African American woman to win the Academy Award for Best Actress. She capped off her win with one of the most memorable Oscar acceptance speeches of all-time. While her acting prowess is recognized by many, a lot of people don’t know that she was diagnosed with diabetes when she was 19. In a Daily Mail interview, Berry says her diabetes “gave me strength and toughness because I had to face reality, no matter how uncomfortable or painful it was.”
One-third of the Jo-Bros, Nick Jonas was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was 13. Just Halle Berry, Jonas credits his diagnosis with shaping his life for the better. “This experience has shaped how I approach my health—working out, eating well,” Jonas wrote in an Instagram post, “And always thinking about my blood sugar and insulin needs.”
The host of the hilarious “Whose Line is it Anyway?” and the “Price is Right,” Drew Carey took control of his diabetes with lifestyle changes. Carey’s commitment to not letting his diabetes get in the way of his health is something we can all be inspired by, whether or not we ourselves have diabetes.
Billie Jean King
Tennis champion and all-around bad *ss, Billie Jean King was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes when she was 65. When asked how her diagnosis affected her life, King referenced needing to change her diet. “I’ve been really trying to cut down on [carbohydrates]. I’m trying to pay attention to my intake. Because I love to eat. I just have to deal.”
One of the hosts of The View, Sherri Shepard has adapted her lifestyle to accommodate her diabetes diagnosis. Read about her advice for other people with diabetes, how her eating habits have changed over the years, and her “aha” moment, when she realized it was time to make the necessary changes to live with diabetes.
Header photographer: Dick Thomas Johnson